24 July, 2021

Don't Kill The Next Tennis Star

Hyderabad's collector gets proactive on female foeticide, cracks down on illegal scan centres

Don't Kill The Next Tennis Star
Mubarak ho! Is baar beta hi hoga (Congratulations. It will be a boy this time).’ This was a pronouncement that used to be heard often in ultrasound clinics in Hyderabad where women queued up either to know the gender of their unborn child or resort to sex selection techniques to guarantee a beta. But when Hyderabad district collector Arvind Kumar took charge in September ’04, these clinics were forced to wake up to the Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PNDT) Act of 1994.

It didn’t take Kumar long to prove that the law wasn’t toothless after all. It all began with analysing the ’01 census figures—he was shocked to find that Hyderabad had the lowest child sex ratio (0-6 years) at 942 among all the 23 districts as against the Andhra Pradesh average of 961. This meant that for every 1,000 boys born there were only 942 girls. "It was obvious that human interference was behind these worrying figures," says Kumar.

A scan audit showed that Hyderabad had 389 centres (again, the highest in the state). "This clearly revealed that female foeticide is closely...

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